In 2006, I went to Provincetown for the first time to take a workshop with Pam Houston at the Fine Arts Work Center. Each morning a twenty-minute walk to class took me parallel with the ocean on a cobblestone sidewalk, past art gallery after art gallery and shop owners sweeping away the night’s debris. I inhaled the sea air, the coffee brewing. The world was waking up, and I was out in it.
A painting/photograph kept catching my eye. One afternoon I went in to Angela Russo Photography to see it up close. It turns out it was a photograph printed on canvas, and it’s now hanging in front of me. The photograph is also the header on my website. I told Angela how I loved these houses, and she said they were just down the road, that I could see them for myself.
The next afternoon I rented a bike and pedaled the three miles to Truro and there they were.
Two years later, in September of 2008, after thinking about starting a blog for a while but thinking I should wait until my novel was published to start one, I was having lunch when a friend mentioned I should check out her writer friend’s blog. Did she have a book? No, she didn’t. And that was the last drop, the one that filled the glass, and spilled over into my blog. I made a couple of calls, finally made my way from wordpress.org to wordpress.com, and by the next afternoon, my blog was online.
Usually it takes me forever to make a decision. Not this time.
I looked around my desk and saw the Annie Dillard quote taped to my printer, read it, and named the blog. I needed a photo for the header and immediately thought of the houses. I found one of the photos I’d taken in 2006 and clicked on it, having long forgotten, if I ever knew, the name of the cottages.
In the summer of 2009, I went back to Provincetown and again rented a bike. Imagine my surprise as I came pedaling up to the cottages–the Days’ Cottages.
This only happens in writing, I thought, when your subconscious leads you to coincidences and metaphors you only realize later.
In 1931 Joseph A. Days built 9 cottages. Today there are 23–all exactly alike. It was Joe’s wife, Amelia, who thought to name each of the cottages for a flower. You can find them outside of Provincetown, as you approach Truro on 6A.